Article: Microsoft’s learning plan in the era of digitization

#Learning Landscapes

Microsoft’s learning plan in the era of digitization

With all companies taking the path of digitization, Chutima Sribumrungsart, Country Director of HR, Microsoft Thailand, talks about their experience doing the same, talent challenges, cultural diversity and talent priorities in the upcoming financial year.
Microsoft’s learning plan in the era of digitization

Having been associated with Microsoft (Thailand) since 2013, Chutima Sribumrungsart is currently the Country Director of Human Resources. With her passion for Organization Design and Development, she has played a critical role in partnering with the Business Leaders to build growth strategies, develop organizational plans and people transformation roadmaps, and ensure that the Microsoft employees continue to build their capabilities in order to meet the dynamic demands of digital transformation.

Chutima has more than 21 years of experience as an HR professional having worked in a variety of sectors spanning from telecommunications, BFSI, consumer products, professional services to manufacturing.

In an exclusive interaction with People Matters, Chutima shares her thoughts about anticipating digital disruption and upskilling oneself in order to build the skills that are in high demand, especially at this juncture of digital transformation.

Your company has a robust background in leading digital transformations in the workplace. Can you share a few insights from your experience of managing the digital disruption?

Technological transformation is essential in the current global business environment.  All industries including the technology companies are undergoing digital disruption which prompts not only the leaders but also the employees to adopt innovative technology into the rhythm of business operations. Even though Microsoft is basically a technology company familiar with digital transformation, we deploy digitization in our organization based on the calculations of how technology has helped us in the past and how it should be beneficial in the future. Considering this view, we give much importance to the concept of culture in the workplace. 

Could you elaborate on the practices introduced to make a shift in the mindset of your team?

Most of the team members in our organization are tech savvy who contribute to the digital transformation. In Microsoft, the CEO envisions creating a learning organization through “ Growth Mindset” attributes; our work culture is centered on learning and positive mindset to encourage the employees to own and accountable to continue building their capability. When we embrace technology in daily activities, people are introduced to the process of learning from the market, competitors, and customers. It is then incorporated into the leadership principle monitored by a leader who holds the responsibility to engage employees by helping them to learn from the technology itself. Through this learning process, we are able to develop and manage the work culture of the company as aiming to make a difference in everyday work life.

What are the major talent challenges faced by Thailand companies in the technological sphere?

The talent challenges in Thailand can be analyzed in two different dimensions: digital skills and soft skills. The former depends on how tech-savvy are the employees and also on technology which continues to transform each day. With the advancement in the level of developed techniques such as IoT, data analytics and Robotics, the challenge is to find highly-skilled people who are experts in these burgeoning tech fields. Therefore it is relevant to accelerate the learning process to help the employees attain a comprehensive knowledge about technology and its impact on managing the market. The actual skills required in the working environment such as the ability to communicate effectively both in the spoken and written context is the second dimension. In a digital environment, where virtual communication and digital writing is essential, people are expected to improve their collaborative efforts and insights to meet the higher expectations of the organization. With the aim of developing the skill set to a competitive level, we have organized a  project initiative that deals with guiding talent into the market, leading collaboration and collecting the resources. Project management skill is highly advised by the companies in order to satisfy their expectations and to maintain the diversity of the team.

What are the current techniques adopted by Microsoft Thailand for creating an effective virtual environment communication?  

Since Microsoft offers a technology platform, we utilize it to create insights by connecting people, including customers and partners both internally and externally. Our employees are equipped with the digital skills and are provided with the right learning programs to identify their right choices, personalize to their roles and format developed to fit with employee work-life design. Besides using Skype for business for training employees and arranging meetings, we have introduced Microsoft Team, a global collaboration platform to get people together as a team for discussion, exchange information, learning and knowledge management. We’ve also adopted our own Collaboration & Communication Platform which enables people to share their stories of learning. Employee connection activities are promoted on a regular basis to bridge the gap by establishing a strong rapport between them.

Can you discuss the learning technology used by Microsoft in building the digital skill sets?

Microsoft has adopted its own technology known as Microsoft Team that consists of Collaboration, Communication, Productivities, and AI platform to aid virtual learning. Employees can pursue learning by accessing content through the uploaded videos with the help of the internet and search engines. An internal information platform called ‘infopedia’ for learning, and the digital video platform like Skype assist the Microsoft team to bring together the team members from different locations for training. We maintain a ‘readiness team’ for compiling different functions for generating the knowledge that we need to inculcate among the employees in order to cope up with the new and updated technology. Along with an internal networking platform for mentoring and coaching, we have also organized a global learning team for leadership development and soft skills development at a professional level. Moreover, we partner with external universities like Harvard to help employees get certificates for virtual curriculum or e-learning.

How do you measure the impact of skills practiced on-the-job?

A readiness index is used to measure learning given through the technology platform and the capabilities achieved by the employee. The individual report and team management report, guide us to monitor and recognize the talent acquired by people through this process. Another method is the customer survey which analyses the customer satisfaction level by finding out how the customers perceive the experience from our employees and how the latter exhibit the right attitudes and provide the right solutions. The employee management survey throws light on the impact of training given by the leaders to their team members on facing the challenges of digital transformation. So we analyze the progress and impact of learning in the workplace through the 360° perspective.

How do the leaders in Microsoft ensure cultural transformation?

In our organization, leaders and people management are crucial. Starting by Tone from the top, governance by our Leadership Principle and People Manager Priorities. A manager readiness program is organized to build people manager capability and enable them to own their People Priorities including talent acquisition, enable success for the individual and the team, champion on learning and career development. HR plays a pivotal role in leadership coaching by partnering with the people management program to understand and overcome the talent challenges. We also have a regular community manager excellence forum that includes the people managers aimed at developing knowledge and competence through learning and by deploying the best practices. Discussions about team management and progress are held on a quarterly basis among the people managers, HR professionals, and top leaders.

What will be the talent priorities for Microsoft in 2019?

We will continue our journey of digital transformation, our people in Microsoft lives every day with the attitude of “ Perform while Transform”. It is important for us to ensure that our employees are well equipped and empowered to deliver our customer/partner to success through our technology platform. Our People Managers are prepared to be competent in leading, coaching and driving excellence in business as One Microsoft. In Thailand, we want to strengthen our current experience and to maintain our position as a global leader of the future. In order to identify the right capability and to compete with the speed of transformation, we also really focus to bring in future talent with the right mindset and right capability to our organization.

Topics: Learning Landscapes, Learning & Development

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